Guest column: Turbo charge your website’s effectiveness

Home Columns Guest column: Turbo charge your website’s effectiveness

Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013

 By Jim Armstrong

(First of two parts)

During one of my coaching webinars for floor covering dealers, I was discussing strategies to increase the effectiveness of their websites.

To hammer home what not to do, I Googled “Flooring Los Angeles” and opened the top three sites in the organic search. I showed how each site used the same formula: Business name at the top, tabs listing products it sells and contact information. I call these name, rank and serial number sites.

Yes, there were superficial differences in color, graphics and layout, but the formula was identical. Even though I hadn’t seen these sites before the webinar, I knew what I would find because 99% of flooring dealer sites use the name, rank and serial number formula.

There are two major problems with this. It doesn’t answer the unspoken question on every prospect’s mind: Why should I do business with you vs. your competition? Because they create no differentiation, these sites put dealers in a position of competing on price, which retailers enjoy almost as much as explaining to a high-strung customer their installer just backed his van over her Yorkie.

Second, there is no mechanism to capture visitor contact information to do follow-up marketing. You can have hundreds of visitors to your site each week, but without a way to capture their information most leave and you never hear from them again.

What if there was a single strategy that solved both problems? There is, and it’s called “lead capture,” which means capturing the contact information from website visitors.

Here’s how it works: Your prospects are reluctant to give their information to companies they don’t know. To get past this natural reluctance you have to entice them with something compelling. Savvy marketers use anything from free reports and white papers to CDs and DVDs to instant videos. Regardless, you must do three things to compel visitors to give you their information:

1. Offer valuable information the prospect truly wants.

2. Offer information the prospect cannot find on other flooring websites.

3. Arouse your prospect’s curiosity.

I’ve developed a free report for dealers in my Inner Circle Club that educates consumers on how to find an honest, ethical retailer and how to avoid low-ball, bait-and-switch scammers, and it accomplishes the three things just mentioned. Consider an educational report, but don’t be boring.

Next, you need ad copy explaining how they will benefit from your information. Use a compelling headline to capture immediate attention. Just be smart about it. Promises of “free beer” may capture attention and compel people to visit your store, but it may attract less-than-ideal clientele.

Finally, you need an opt-in form where the visitors fill out their names, email addresses and phone numbers in order to download your information. Post it on your home page, or provide a link below the ad copy taking them to an opt-in form on another page.

Many flooring sites have opt-in forms, but they give no compelling reason for visitors to provide their info. “Contact us” and “Have a question?” are the reasons typically provided. Do those sound compelling enough to give your information to a company you don’t know? Most of your prospects don’t think so either.

By using this strategy, not only will you create total differentiation from all the other sites, you will capture visitor’s contact information for follow up marketing.

In part two, I’ll reveal strategies for your follow-up marketing.

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